VentraIP is an ambitious Australian host, and it’s one of the best options for targeting Australian audiences. Its shared hosting features are much more up-to-date than its competitors. Those features, and a great management panel, left me impressed.
Good performance and attentive support made this host stand out from the crowd, but is it the right host for you? What happens if your target audience is outside of Australia? Would you be better off with an established international host, like Hostinger (which also offers incredibly cheap plans)? I got myself an account with VentraIP and ran detailed tests so I could answer any question you might have.
Finally! An Aussie Host That’s Optimized for WordPress
VentraIP is a welcome breath of fresh air among small Australian hosting companies. With data centres in Sydney and Melbourne, it’s targeting our local niche. But it’s ambitious with it, and that’s what makes it exciting.
Being ‘young’ (ish) means that VentraIP has something to prove. But this can also be a good thing. For instance, VentraIP is the only Australian host I tested that has shared hosting specifically optimized for WordPress. This shouldbe a good sign. But as we know, what a host claims and what it actually does can be miles apart.
Remember, mates. Never trust the marketing blindly.
I signed up for the cheapest Starter plan to test VentraIP’s shared hosting. I did this as part of a project for Website Planet, where we tested all the major Australian hosts, and compared them to the leading hosting providers around the world.
The results of my tests will give you an insider’s view of what hosting with VentraIP is really like.
Fantastic Security Features and a Solid Backup Plan
Let’s start with the basic options: VentraIP’s shared hosting is split into three plans: Starter, Freedom, and Premier. All of these plans are optimised for WordPress if that’s what you’re into, but you’re by no means limited to WordPress.
CPU and RAM definitely “RAMp up” (sorry) from the Starter plan’s 2GB of RAM, to the Premier plan’s 6GB of RAM, and three-times more CPU power compared to the basic plan. This makes sense, and is similar to the way some of the big-name hosts around the world do it. Hostinger does this, for example, but Hostinger admittedly has a much wider choice of plans to choose from.
In terms of bandwidth, VentraIP and Crazy Domains are the only Australian hosts I tested that offered unlimited traffic on all shared hosting plans. You also get unlimited databases on all plans (MariaDB rather than MySQL – it won’t make any difference for most people).
The Weebly website builder is available on all hosting plans, but not well publicised. Just use the one-click installer in the control panel (cPanel, specifically) to add it to your hosting account if you need it.
I try to look for missing features so you know what you’re not getting, as well as what you are getting. Honestly? There isn’t much missing.
Well, there’s no CDN (Content Delivery Network), which can help to speed up page load times around the world. That doesn’t have to stop you from choosing VentraIP, though. You can sign up for your own account on a CDN service like Cloudflare to get the same functionality.
Now for some good news: VentraIP uses LiteSpeed – one of the most advanced web server technologies out there. For the average consumer, you just need to know that your site will be fast. For the semi-nerds, LiteSpeed is (almost) a drop-in replacement for the Apache web server, focused on performance.
VentraIP also offers free migration from your old host. Migration is handled by VentraIP’s support team.
The hosting geek in me is excited, and there’s more goodness still to come.
VentraIP takes hourly backups of your site automatically using Acronis Backup. My benchmark for backups is Relentless Hosting, because it takes daily backups. So having an hourly backup feature makes me moderately happy. It’s that happiness you get when a company does something that’s a bit boring, but also amazingly useful.
In addition, VentraIP’s backup tool (called Acronis) makes it really easy to restore individual files. As you can see from my backup below, you don’t have to restore the whole set.
More good news, folks: VentraIP offers a free SSL certificate on all plans.
SSL secures your website by encrypting data sent to and from the server, and you get that little padlock in the URL bar. It gives your customers privacy and peace of mind. Google’s been on a mission to encourage every site to move to SSL in the last couple of years, so I find it bizarre that some hosts don’t provide free SSL as standard. Well done, VentraIP, for bucking this trend.
And there’s more to love. The free SSL certificate is added to your site automatically. This sure beats the hassle of messing around with uploading and renewing certificates.
You don’t even need to dip into cPanel to set it up.
ModSecurity is a security add-on for a web server that hardens it against hacking attempts. Many hosts offer security services in the background, but it’s unusual to have a way of managing it yourself in the control panel.
I really like that VentraIP lets you see how ModSecurity is protecting your website. In the screenshot below, you can see how the software displays recent activity. It has blocked a malicious login, which is great. I’m less happy that people are already trying to maliciously log in, though, but what can you do? This is the internet.
VentraIP’s whole website is clear and uncluttered, and this extends to its control panel interface and sign-up procedure. Well, it should be noted that there are two control panels, sort of. The one I’m talking about is the one VentraIP developed to get you up and running quickly.
In addition to the usual features you’d expect from a control panel, this one gives you access to a bunch of features you may not have thought of. The basic features include: domain management, email management, G Suite integration, a quick and easy overview of your billing cycle, and payment plan management.
The fancy control panel features include (nerd stuff incoming!): Temporary URLs, external MySQL access IPv6 Management, a simple permissions, firewall configuration, file quarantining, and more. In short, it takes a lot of information and functionality that’s usually hidden behind several clicks, or cPanel, or the command line, and puts those features front and center.
VentraIP also has cPanel, which is where you can manage the fine details of your hosting service and install software.
You can install WordPress with one click in cPanel, using either Softaculous or Installatron. It makes no difference which one you use. I prefer the Softaculous interface, which is a little easier to find your way around. But honestly, you’re only going to use this thing once – it’s not something to lose sleep over.
Choose your username and password, and use the installer form to select your basic preferences. Click Install. That’s it! Your site’s ready to go.See if VentraIP is Right for You
If Your Customers Are In Australia, You’re Set
I ran real speed and performance tests on my VentraIP website over three months. All the tests below were run with GTmetrix, Sucuri Load Time Tester, and UptimeRobot. You can read more about my testing methods in this article, if you like getting into the technical side of things.
The site I built was live at autonomous-shoes-australia-l.com. I decided to take the website down before publishing the results of my tests. Otherwise, the host might be tempted to do something cheeky – like make changes that skew the results – and I wanted you to see the true picture.
Okay, so let’s get on with the results.
In addition to testing the site with my own Internet connection, I tested my website using GTmetrix, and selected an Australian test server (Sydney, to be precise) to see what the speeds would be like for other Australian customers visiting the website.
Over nine tests, VentraIP’s speed tests turned out really good.
Eight out of nine tests came in at under two seconds, which is the ‘magic number’ as far as loading speed is concerned. Any longer than this and your visitor is going to get impatient and may bounce back to the search results page.
Across all tests, loading times measured at between 1.2s and 2.5s. The average was 1.4s; the test in the screenshot below was closest to the average.
If you want specifics, my site was around 1.44MB in size. We can see from the size of the file that some compression has been applied to help speed things up, bringing the site size down to about 900kB.
Sucuri Load Time Tester
I ran nine tests in Sucuri to see how loading speeds look from global data centres.
Ack.Global loading speeds are poor. In one sense,this is to be expected. If your host is fairly small and has data centres in Australia, it’s clearly only going to be fast in Australia. One server in one test reported a loading speed of under two seconds. That was from Dallas, Texas, which measured 1.98s. But loading speeds in North America were mixed.
Loading speeds in Europe were consistently pretty bad, but not the worst. No, that particular record goes to the city of Bangalore. The data centre there took 7.9s to load the site.
You can’t really expect lightning-fast speeds when a test location is thousands of miles from a data centre. However, this demonstrates a fairly obvious point: Aussie hosts are best for businesses with Aussie audiences.
Finally, uptime. A site that loads slowly is one thing. One that doesn’t load at all is much worse. I’m pleased to say that I have good news to end this section. UptimeRobot reported perfect uptime of 100% over 30 days.
VentraIP has a totally clean report with no downtime at all, which is super impressive. It has a 99.9% uptime guarantee, but more importantly, it was the only Australian host that achieved uninterrupted 100% uptime in this test.Check Out VentraIP Performance
Two-Tier Support Left Me Sitting in the Cheap Seats
Standard support with VentraIP includes help 24/7 via live chat, ticket, or phone.
If you purchase the most expensive plan at VentraIP, you get priority support via ticket. Since I was using the cheapest plan, I got the ‘standard’ support experience.
There is another option if you don’t want to pay for priority: you can pay a one-time fee to have a ticket pushed to the front of the queue. I guess this is the VentraIP equivalent of flying economy and paying extra for snacks. This High Priority support costs $4.95 each time you use it. Since the standard response time is one hour, I figured I probably wouldn’t need to pay the additional fee. Let’s see whether that was true.
So first, I tried live chat for a pre-sales enquiry. The responses were polite, friendly, and fast, as they darned well should be.
After signing up, I tried sending a support ticket. Again, I got a friendly and clear response.
But look at the times here. Standard tickets are supposed to be answered in an hour “depending on demand”. I waited for about 11 hours. That’s a big difference. Maybe I should have paid for ‘business class’ after all.
I could have used the leg room.
Here’s the ticket I opened.
And here is their response:
This answer was also not very detailed. If someone doesn’t know how to install WordPress using a one-click installer, that’s a sign that they need the process to be broken down a lot more.
Finally, I gave VentraIP the opportunity to suggest ways my site could be optimised for better performance. As you can see below, the person who answered didn’t provide any suggestions, although they did point me to a GTmetrix guide, which is a good place to start.
Overall, the support is of good quality, clear, but a little lacking in detail. A 12-hour turnaround for a simple question isn’t great, though, and the company could have done more to manage my expectations. If you do a lot of business online, these response times could temporarily cripple your business.
Fair Pricing for Good Features
VentraIP is not the cheapest Australian host, but I think the pricing is fair when you look at the features VentraIP has, and the fine control it offers over your hosting. I can’t stress enough how great the control panel is. I’m a cPanel fan, yet I really liked VentraIPs own control panel, because it simplifies what would otherwise be complex hosting functionality.
There’s no free trial on shared hosting, but there is a 45-day money-back guarantee. This is a ‘true’ money-back guarantee: you’ll get all of your money back if you cancel. No hidden processing fees.
There’s also a sensible range of contract terms: monthly, 3 months, 6 months, 12 months, 24 months, and 36 months. There’s no crazy 10-year plan here like there is at Crazy Domains. The only downside is that there are no discounts when you sign up for a long-term plan.
You can pay for your hosting using a credit card, Bpay, PayPal, or bank transfer. Since there are no discounts for longer contract terms, I’d suggest going for the monthly plan. That way you have the flexibility to cancel if the hosting isn’t right for you.
You don’t get a free domain at VentraIP. This is a bit of a disappointment, since the company claims to be “Australia’s largest independent accredited registrar.”
There are two steps involved in canceling your hosting with VentraIP: cancel the service, and then close the account.
First, you need to check that auto-renew is off. To cancel your hosting account, you then need to navigate to Web Hosting, then Manage. Scroll down a little bit to see the Cancel Service link. It’s right there at the bottom-left.
Click the Cancel Service button and fill in the form.
This will cancel your hosting, although you’ll still be able to log in. If you want to delete your login as well, just go to My Account, then Close Account.
Fantastic webhost with excellent technical support. The team are based in Australia and are always willing to help. Tickets are replied to within the hour and they're always willing to help out. If you're after a great quality web hosting provider then VentraIP is your choice!
I was initially satisfied with the service however after using it for a month or two found their add-ons were making it an expensive service. For example their web builder was an additional $30/month on top of hosting. Yes their local support is first class but I just couldn't justify the $$$ expense. Thank you next.
I was planning on purchasing more reseller hosting as I need to put up more websites online and they stopped providing the reseller service completely. I knew I had limited storage on my existing account so if I hit the 100GB which is not far off, I am screwed because I can't get a second reseller account.I've been a customer for over 3 years and I got screwed hard. I opened up a ticket and asked if they can provide more resellers to existing clients and they just told me to go to another business which was their 'Sister company'.In addition to that, the company that they are referring me to works completely different to them systematically and in terms of pricing. You can't just provide a service where customers are using it and next day you go 'Yeah mate no more resellers...off you go.' Especially if you're an established business.Oh well, they lost...not me. Already found another Australian owned business who matched their prices and offered better specs.Good bye!
Thank you to the team for solving my problem regarding my website (not caused by VentraIP) . Jordan, Matthew and Jacob were a real pleasure to deal with. When Jacob contacted with the final solution and it worked I almost fell off my chair.
The company that was responsible for the errors did not want to get involved. These boys did.
I will be with this company forever. Great work!!David Farrington
VentraIP is the best Australian host I’ve used. Its GTmetrix scores are great in Australia, and the features are the best I have seen. Hourly backups? Just awesome. This is a host that really understands what customers are looking for.
The control panel is tidy and easy to use and the website is super-clean. I didn’t miss cPanel one bit while using this host, which is a big deal. Many custom control panels suck, because they’re more worried about protecting you from advanced functionality, rather than giving you control, and explaining how things work.
I’m going to shave a little off the score for the support experience since the wait time for a ticket was longer than promised. Still, there’s always live chat support.
Overall, Crazy Domains scored a little better on speed tests, but VentraIP scored highly in all areas and deserves a place on your shortlist.
However, if your target audience is outside of Australia, I’d suggest checking Hostinger’s latest deals before you make any final decisions.
Based in Melbourne, Jack is a long-time web developer and WordPress enthusiast, always interested not only in how things work, but how he can make them work better. You'll typically find him glued to his computer screen at all hours of the day and night, but he does go outside every once in a while - mainly to play squash or do some surfing (or at least pretend to).